NIGERIA: First moments of Pope Francis 1

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The first moments of Pope Francis 1, 267th successor of St. Peter, who entered the conclave as one of the 115 cardinal-electors with real name of Cardinal  Mario Jorge Bergoglio, from Argentina, were characterised by prayer.

He arrived to the central balcony of St. Peter at 8.20 (Local Time) gazing upon the cheering crowd for two minutes before calling out “Good Evening”.

During his 12 minutes on the balcony, he led the faithful in praying an our father, Hail Mary and Glory Be For Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

He also bowed in a moment of silence inviting the faithful to pray God’s  blessing for himself, just before he imparted his own Apostolic blessing, his first blessing to the city and the world. According to authoritative Vatican source, before leaving the balcony just after 8.30 (Local Time), he told the faithful he wanted to ask for the intercession of our Lady.

Jorge Bergoglio, born December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aires, Argentina was ordained a Jesuit Priest in December 13, 1969. He was made cardinal by Pope John Paul  II in 2001. He is the first South American, first Jesuit and first to take the name Francis.

The bells of St. Peter on Wednesday March 13, 2013 started ringing after 7p.m. Local time soon after the cardinals had elected a new Pope indicated by the White smoke coming out of the chimney from Sistine chapel and the crowd began cheering just moment after. “Habemus Papam” – We have a Pope. He is a wonderful choice, a Pastor God sends, not just to the church, but to every person of goodwill, stated Archbishop Charles J. Chaputupon, while unveiling the new Pope.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Director of the Vatican press office, said, “we have a Pope who wants to serve. Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is already well known for his simplicity, for being a pastor among the people. A cardinal who takes the bus and cooks for himself for example and great defender of the poor.

Now as the Pope, he has began with simplicity to pray the simplest  prayers with the people, which is the greatest sign of simplicity.

Lombardi acknowledged surprise at the election and declared that this is a moment of joy for the church. He noted the Pope’s style of “evangelical testimony” and stressed his humility. Evidence is how he bowed down before the people, asking them to pray for God’s blessing, prior to giving his Apostolic blessing as successor of St. Peter. He also noted his pastoral style immediately applied to his new diocese – Diocese of Rome.

He said it is an act of courage for the cardinals to go across the ocean and choose a Pope. Francis is the first Pope from the Americas.

Lombardi spoke of the Pope’s vocation as a Jesuit. He referred to their order as one known for serving. The role of the successor of St. Peter is also one of service. Reflecting that Cardinal Bergoglio has probably accepted his new mission  in that vein with the simplicity of a servant.

According to US Bishop Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, President of US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the election of Cardinal Bergoglio who has taken the name Francis marks a great milestone in our church. As successor of St. Peter, our first Pope, Francis stands as figure of unity for all Catholics, wherever they reside.

The Bishops of USA and the people of our 195 dioceses offer prayer for our new leader and promise allegiance to him. Intense prayer from all around the world surrounded the election of Pope Francis 1.

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